Mother Mary or Mama Mary, as she is fondly called by Cahtolics worldwide, appeared to three children in Fatima, Portugal on October 13, 1917. The three children were Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco. In her apparitions, Mama Mary frequently requested that the people pray the rosary and offer sacrifices to convert the sinners. The first apparition occurred May 13, 1917 and ended October 13, 1917.
During that span of time, the Lady confided to the children three secrets.
The first secret was the vision of hell. The three children were shown by Mama Mary what hell actually looked like. This is to admonish sinners and make them change their ways. This is how Lucia described hell, it was “like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, having human forms. They were floating about in that conflagration………..amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair.”
The second secret pertains to Mary’s instruction to establish devotion to the Immaculate Heart to save the souls from Hell and for conversion to Catholic faith. Also, to warn the people that punishments in the form of war, famine and persecutions would occur if they will not repent their erring ways.
The third and final secret was the death of the Pope and other religions figures. The third secret was withheld by Vatican and was released only on June 26, 2000 even though Lucia insisted that it must be released by 1960.
The Dancing Sun
October 13, 1917 was an important date in the Fatima apparition because it was the day for the final apparition. On that day Mary promised the children a miracle. The news of a miracle spread all throughout Portugal like wildfire. People from all walks of life, from all places flocked to the place to witness the promised miracle. Among them were newspaper reporters and photographers gathered at the appointed place in Cova da Iria.
Around 75,000 people gathered. It was raining but the rain stopped. A cloud covered the disc of the sun, turning the atmoshphere into a somber gray and making it easier to look at the sun. Lucia instructed the crowd to look at the sun. At first, the sun changed colors and turned into a silver disk. What made it amazing was it didn’t hurt the eyes to look at it. The sun began to dance in the sky, like a turning wheel of fire. They called it the “dancing sun” phenomenon. It spun and spun for minutes, zigzagging before the huge throng of people. Then, it suddenly stopped. The sun then plunged towards the crowd, to the astonishment of the people. People cringed in fear. They cried out loud. Then the plunging sun stopped midway. It slowly rose back up to the sky, to the relief of the viewers. The solar phenomenon was witnessed by people as far as forty kilometers away.
If there was any doubt as to the validity of children’s claims, the dancing sun miracle effectively erased it. Perhaps, the greatest miracle that occurred that day was that the diminishing faith of the people was reinstalled or reinforced.